West Covina residents fight to save trees
West Covina residents Carolyn Arndt and Bruce Leinbach are fired up that an Industry-based developer wants to construct a medical office building on city property next to the West Covina Library on Monday, Jan.
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#1 Jan 10, 2012
West Covina residents Carolyn Arndt and Bruce Leinbach are fired up that an Industry-based developer wants to construct a medical office building on city property next to the West Covina Library on Monday, Jan. 9, 2011. The project will required the removal of 141 trees and some green space at the Civic Center site.(SGVN/Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda)
WEST COVINA - Residents here are getting more fired up that an Industry-based developer wants to replace more than 140 trees with a medical office building on city property next to the West Covina Library.
They will bring their growing fight to a public hearing on the issue at City Hall tonight.
"This has really set me off," resident Carolyn Arndt, 80, said. "This is public land they're trying to sell off. Once this land is gone, it's gone forever."
At the 7 p.m. hearing, the City Council will hear testimony regarding the 55,680-square-foot, four-story medical office building that CGM Development is proposing to build on the northwest corner of West Garvey Avenue and West Covina Parkway, on the library's parking lot.
"Nobody's for it," Arndt said. "They're all against it, but somebody has to lead the charge. We need to be in the forefront and get this thing stopped."
Deputy City Manager Chris Freeland said entering into an agreement with CGM could give a much-needed financial boost to West Covina.
"The project has a purchase price of $700,000, around $140,000 in permit fees and development costs and then annual property tax generation," Freeland said. "There is a financial benefit, and depending if there's restaurants, there might be some sales tax income generated."
The city is facing a $1.9 million budget deficit for the current fiscal year.
The council will also consider tonight a disposition and development agreement with CGM, which, if signed, would pave the way for the project's construction.
#2 Jan 10, 2012
The $13 million project, called Parkway Corporate Center, would include nearly 40 condominium office units on a 2.7-acre development site at 1607 West Covina Parkway.
Building it would require the removal of 141 trees and berms throughout the site and an expansion of the southern parking lot, encroaching on green space and a walkway area between the lot and county buildings.
"I think it's completely wrong that we're selling the green belt space we have in our Civic Center," resident Bruce Leinbach, 69, said. "I definitely believe the medical condo project will be bad for the city."
#3 Jan 10, 2012
The Planning Commission in November voted down the project, a decision that the developer subsequently appealed to the council.
Planning commissioners echoed the sentiments of residents, opposing the proposed location and the destruction of trees.
This is not the first time a large project on that same lot has come before the council.
In 2005, council members denied plans to build a five-story, 147,000-square-foot building after the Planning Commission approved the project. Those plans, which residents also heavily opposed, included having underground parking, a plaza and retail businesses.
Though the latest development has not been approved, and the developer does not yet own the property, CGM for the past few months has been advertising space with large billboards at the corner street.
"I think it's wrong that they have for sale signs up on the property when they don't even own it," Leinbach said. "It hasn't even been approved yet.
The developer is seeking approval of a general plan amendment, zone changes, parking variances and a tree removal permit.
Opponents are threatening to attempt a recall of four of the five council members or a referendum if the vote goes through.
"It's a promise," Arndt said of the recall and referendum.
#4 Jan 10, 2012
DO NOT LET the City Council get away with this. They are drunk with power.
These City Council Members will sellout the Residents of West Covina for "gifts" from the developer.
Politically connected developers are behind all of this.
Residents must stand up against this developer greed.
#5 Jan 20, 2012
While you are looking at the deeds of these councilpeople, be sure to dig through the agenda items to find out how they use PARS (not PERS) to supplement thier income after they retire. They will get MORE (over $1000/month) from PARS than they get now for sitting on the council, and they will get it the rest of thier lives! Guess who is paying for that.
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